Wednesday, June 4, 2014

THE RIVER OF SOULS by Robert McCammon


*Book 5 of the Matthew Corbett Series*

In this latest installment in the excellent series set in the early 1700's featuring the young problem-solver Matthew Corbett, Matthew is on edge after his dangerous adventure at the Caribbean stronghold of the mysterious Professor Fell (in the last book, The Providence Rider), an adventure that has put a rift between him and his main crush, Berry Grisby. So when he is offered a tempting 50 pounds for the easy-peasy job of escorting a young debutante to a high class ball in the Charles Town colony, he takes the opportunity to get out of New York for a while. But once there, the daughter of a powerful plantation owner is killed and the murder is pinned on a group of runaway slaves. Believing that there is more to this murder than meets the eye, Matthew decides to join the mob chasing the slaves up the infamous "River of Souls", a creepy, swampy bog that is known not only for it's dangerous animals and violent native tribes, but also for the rumours of a supernatural predator who's presence is signaled by the sound of a wailing infant.

The novel is the shortest of the Corbett novels so far and moves at an infectious pace. The book also stands out because the usual supporting cast is mostly absent as Matthew embarks on his new adventure solo! I also love the atmosphere the book has once the journey up  the river begins. You can practically smell the swamp and feel the almost never-ending darkness of the night. But the mystery is solved almost immediately, which causes the novel to lose some of its momentum. And the book does feel a bit rushed, especially in it's final third, as if trying to wrap up the adventure as quickly as possible in order to get us to the final events in the end. But those events (although hinged on a huge coincidence!) add up to a doozy of a cliffhanger, leaving me aching to read the next installment. Although not as consistently amazing as the last few books in the series, the book is a worthy follow-up to the Matthew Corbett adventures and a quick and entertaining summer-reading adventure!

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